DSTV has over the last few years, been forced over and over to pull homosexual and other adult content from broadcast. Most recently we have heard that governments want to extend this censorship of homosexual content to digital on demand platforms and am sorry but this is wrong and counter progressive for Africa and her people.
Being born and raised in Zambia, the only encounters I had with homosexuality were strictly on TV and mainly with white people. White people where crazy anyway so it was not a shock that they would have same sex relationships. These are the same people who started slavery right? Totally bat shit crazy. When Wesley Snipes and Patrick Swayze put on women’s clothes and make up in Too Wong Foo Thanks for everything in 1995, we let it into our home and loved it but it was just some really good comedy. No harm done. Little did I know that one of my favorite TV shows over two decades later, would be centered around an entire movement called Drag darling! Led by a man who can do fabulous just as good as any woman. Rupaul is a Queen. Don’t @ about it.
Anyway, fast forward to 2006, I had moved to Johannesburg and one day I was walking through the mall and suddenly this tall ‘woman’ was walking towards me, long dreadlocks that came down her back and over her shoulder and a tight head to tall leather outfit consisting of an open jacket, tight leather pants and even tighter leather calf high boots. She was fascinating. When she was close enough for me to realize she was a man, my jaw was on the floor and I could not help but stare in shock that this man was going to walk around dressed like a sexy woman, with full make up on, in broad day light! If this was Zambia, he would have been dead already.
But I looked around and I was the only one who seemed to care. Everyone else was going about their business and so i closed my mouth and did the same. Even though I was shocked I thought he looked fab and after the initial shock had worn off, I was left curious. Over the years of living in Johannesburg, I got to interact with more homosexuals who where open and expressing themselves in all sorts of ways and the happiness that comes from that freedom was potent. Somizi, I had loved from Sarafina, so to discover that he was this even larger than life personality that also just happened to be gay was a wake-up call that this was real life and these are real people, human beings just like me. I was not going to stop loving him just because he prefers to sleep with other men, especially when he’s sleeping with other men was not harming me or anyone else for that matter. For me, to be honest, I really don’t see how sleeping with a man is any different to sleeping with a woman. Its two people sharing their body fluids; does it really matter that those two bodies are the same sex? Seems like just semantics and semantics mean shit.
What am trying to say is that I understand why homosexuality is a sensitive topic for Africa. It’s not something we grow up seeing so it is something we simply do not understand. Before coming to South Africa, I didn’t understand it either but once I was exposed to it, i started to realize that my responsibility in the situation and any other situation where am dealing with another person, is to see and treat them as only human beings. What I mean is I don’t need to understand the other person and their way of life. As long as I see them as just another human being, and base my showing them love and kindness on just that fact, am good. The rest is up to God and way out of my jurisdiction.
If any group of people can understand what it must feel like to be judged and have prejudice and lack of knowledge and understanding be the basis on which other people interact and treat them, it should be black Africans. All Africans, everywhere for that matter. We have been asking for people not to judge us and get to know the real us and yet we are not willing to do the same for another group of people.
The only way we can start to learn about homosexuality is if we are exposed to it. Through media and television first and then letting that tolerance of seeing homosexuality on television and in media, spread to tolerance of seeing homosexuality in our communities.
Africa is trying to join the global village and one of the key elements in becoming a part of such a huge group is understanding that there are so many kinds of different people in this world, living different lifestyles and so for a global village to work, there needs to be tolerance and acceptance of others who are not like us.
Homosexuals are real people! They are not animals. We cannot in our right minds think it is OK to kill them just because we don’t understand what has happened for this sudden emergence of people who want to love people of the same sex as them. Are we really going to kill all homosexuals? It is barbaric and takes us back to being animals, with a brain so under developed, it cannot learn and adapt to new things.
Think about it, if homosexuality was really a choice, why would anyone choose to be homosexual in Africa?
Governments across the continent seem to be very confused about what their role in this conversation should be. It is government’s responsibility to prepare its people for the bigger world out there. To foster an environment of growth, learning and progress; but instead by censoring content, government is keeping us isolated and closed minded to the bigger world out there and the many different people that live in it.
Censorship of such content needs to be left in the home. Give parents the responsibility of choosing how to raise their children. Neither government nor anyone else has the right to make that choice for all of us. I for example want my child to know that there is not only one type of people on the planet, each one of us is unique; all 7.6 billion of us are distinctly different from each other so how can there possibly be only one way for all of us to live? I want my daughter to be open minded and learn to accept people who are different from us. I want the right to choose what I teach and expose my child to but if government has already made that choice for me, without my consent for that matter, isn’t that an infringement of my human rights? The right to live a life of my own choosing? I do as everyone else does have the right to choose how I will live my life as long as I am not taking any rights away from anyone else. Isn’t that the purpose of laws? To make sure we are not infringing on each other’s basic human rights to live on this planet? I don’t see how something as personal (hence unique to every individual) as sexual orientation requires any laws. There are people out there who are choosing to sleep with plastic dolls than with a human beings, we are entering the age of robots and sex bots will soon be a real thing. Is that more acceptable?
How hypocritical of Africa to put such harsh sentences for people who are just trying to find their own happiness in this world and not hurting anyone in the process, but we allow rape and violence against women to go without severe punishment, to a point where we have created a whole rape culture. Rape is a lifestyle – am sure marketing execs everywhere are jealous. How can we care so much about who some random guy in the street is sleeping with but we don’t care that children are getting raped every day? Who is hurting another, infringing on another human’s rights between a rapist and a homosexual? But here we have more outrage for someone’s personal bedroom business than at an endemic that is having such huge effects on society and overall progress for Africa and her people. Our priorities are clearly way off here.
Age restrictions and parental controls are there, governments can make sure that content providers clearly say if programming has any homosexual content and let the viewers choose. We are all adults and should be responsible for what we consume and allow our children to consume.
And this is the age of the internet! Most kids have come across porn by the time they are 15 – both straight and gay porn and am probably being very optimistic with that number, because they are probably getting access earlier seeing as we are giving our children smart phones at age 5 these days. Best believe that your children will see all of this and even worse things on the internet so wouldn’t it be better to have them get exposed to these things in an environment that you can control?
Most of us want out children to travel the world and dream beyond their current situations, they will encounter homosexuality and then what? Imagine you send your child to another country where homosexuality is accepted; your child says the wrong homophobic thing and gets killed for it? We are African’s, people don’t need too many excuses to kill us so do we really need to be encouraging them?
We have to teach our children that the world has all kinds of people in it and we need to be open and tolerant of one another because we are all different.
I know a lot of the anti homosexual narrative is based on religion and culture but the God that religion is meant to be built on is based in love and love is only love when it can be shown to all living things. It is not selective. It is humans who are selective, not the love of God.
It is this selective love that has given rise to slavery which still exists today, colonialism, tribalism, racism and all the other ism’s that foster hate seperation.
And as for culture, a wise man once said something along these lines; culture is important as it defines people but be careful not to let culture confine you because culture should grow and evolve to accommodate humans as we ourselves grow and evolve.
Our culture tells us to hold nature sacred but here we are tolerant of the people killing it so we can have technology and other nice new things.
I believe it’s time for African culture to grow and evolve and allow homosexuality and any other sexuality that does not infringe on any human rights, in.